Week of December 26, 2005
Potato Pancakes With A Wild Side
American Institute for Cancer Research
The holiday commemorates the battle between the Maccabees and King Antiochus Epiphanes, who was trying to wipe out Judaism. After chasing the enemy out of Jerusalem, the Maccabees discovered their temple had been desecrated. They found only one small vial of untainted olive oil enough to burn for just one day. They lit the oil and, miraculously, it lasted the eight days they needed to get more consecrated oil and rededicate the temple. Foods cooked in oil commemorate the miracle.
Latkes potato pancakes fried in oil can be made from other vegetables, including zucchini, sweet potatoes and string beans.
Another alternative is to combine grated potatoes with wild rice, which adds an earthy, nutty flavor. Wild rice isn’t really rice but a long-grain marsh grass native to the northern Great Lakes area where Native Americans harvest it by hand.
Wild rice contains the phytochemical called phytic acid, which, in lab and animal studies, appears to slow formation of cancers as well as help control blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides.
Clean wild rice before cooking by putting it in a medium bowl and filling it with cold water. After a few minutes, any debris will float to the surface and the water can be poured off.
These Wild Rice and Potato Latkes make an elegant appetizer or side dish, regardless of whether you celebrate Hanukkah.
Wild Rice and Potato Latkes Cook rice in 1 1/2 cups water until completely tender throughout the kernel, about 1 hour or more. Drain rice in colander and let sit until it is dry to the touch, about 15 minutes. Place warm rice in a mixing bowl.
Using paper towels, squeeze as much moisture as possible from potato, a handful at a time and transfer to the bowl with the rice. With a fork, mix in the egg and scallions. Sprinkle with flour and mix in. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Coat a large skillet with cooking spray until well coated. Place over medium-high heat.
Place rounded tablespoons of the mixture in the pan, one at a time, pressing each firmly with the back of a fork to make thin, 2-inch pancakes with lacy edges. Space latkes 2 inches apart. When lightly browned on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes, gently turn latkes and brown on the other side, about 2 minutes. (To avoid splattering oil, use a splatter screen.) When done, transfer to a warm plate and keep warm. Repeat with remaining mixture, re-spraying pan before adding more pancakes.
Serve immediately. If desired, garnished with thin strips of smoked salmon or a dab of lumpfish caviar and a dab of low-fat sour cream.
Makes 4 servings (2 pancakes each). Per serving: 131 calories, 3 g. total fat (less than 1 g. saturated fat), 20 g. carbohydrate, 7 g. protein, 2 g. dietary fiber, 40 mg. sodium.
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